- - Many employers use the DOL’s model forms to administer employee leaves under the FMLA.
- - The DOL is proposing changes to its model FMLA forms to make them easier to use.
- - At this time, the proposed changes are for the public to comment on. Employers should not use the draft forms to administer leaves.
- August 5, 2019: The DOL announces at 60-day public comment period on proposed changes to the model FMLA forms.
- October 4, 2019: Deadline for submitting comments on the proposed changes.
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently proposed changes to the forms that are frequently used for administering employee leaves under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The DOL is asking for the public to comment on the proposed revisions by Oct. 4, 2019.
According to the DOL, the proposed changes are intended to increase FMLA compliance and reduce the burden on employers, employees and health care providers by making the forms easier to use. The proposed changes would:
- - Reduce the number of questions that require written responses (and replace them with check boxes);
- - Reorganize the medical certification forms to simplify the determination of a serious health condition; and
- - Expand the instructions to clarify how to accurately complete the forms.
Employers that use the DOL’s model FMLA forms should watch for developments related to these proposed changes. The draft revisions are in proposed form for comment only. At this point, they should not be used to administer FMLA leaves.
The federal FMLA requires private sector employers with 50 or more employees, schools and public agencies to provide unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for certain family and medical reasons.
The DOL created seven forms to help employers and employees meet their notice obligations under the FMLA. These forms are free and publicly available on the DOL’s website at: https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/forms.htm. Employers are not required to use these model FMLA forms, although the use of these forms (properly completed) may help employers satisfy their FMLA notice obligations.
The DOL has proposed revisions to its model FMLA forms for the stated purpose of increasing compliance with the FMLA and reducing the burden on the public by making the forms easier to use. More specifically, the DOL says it hopes to reduce the number of forms returned for additional information because they are considered incomplete or contain insufficient information. The DOL also wants to reduce the amount of time it takes to complete some of the forms.
The DOL is requesting public comment on the proposed changes to the forms, which include:
- - Fewer questions requiring written responses (replaced with statements that can be verified by checking a box);
- - Reorganization of the medical certification forms to more quickly determine if a medical condition is a serious health condition as defined by the FMLA;
- - Clarifications to reduce the demand on health care providers for follow-up information;
- - More information on the notification forms to better communicate specific information about leave conditions to employees;
- - Changes to the qualifying exigency certification form to provide clarity to employees about what information is required;
- - Changes to the military caregiver leave forms to improve consistency and ease of use; and
- - Layout and style changes to reduce blank space and improve readability.
Comments on the proposed changes must be submitted by Oct. 4, 2019. The proposed changes to each of the forms are available at:
- Form WH-380-E – Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition
- Form WH-380-F – Certification of Health Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition
- Form WH-381 – Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities
- Form WH-382 – Designation Notice
- Form WH-384 – Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave
- Form WH-385 – Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Servicemember for Military Family Leave
- Form WH-385-V – Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of a Veteran for Military Caregiver Leave
These draft revisions are in proposed form for comment only. At this point, they should not be used to administer FMLA leaves.
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